Prosecutors charged a 25th Infantry Division soldier in the fatal hit and run of a 73-year-old Hawaii man on Tuesday.
Pfc. Joo Woon Park, a 26-year-old water treatment specialist at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, was charged with manslaughter, first-degree robbery, and an accident involving death or serious bodily injury in the death of Todd White, a resident of Haleiwa, Hawaii. Park is being held without bail.
Honolulu police officers first responded to reports of a motor vehicle collision on the morning of Oct. 26, according to local news. Police reported that White and Park had met in a bank parking lot where Park intended to purchase a gold chain from White.
The two men began to argue, then Park allegedly fled with the jewelry. Police said White jumped on the hood of Park’s Toyota Camry to prevent him from leaving. White’s wife followed in another vehicle. When she attempted to stop Park, their vehicles collided.
Witnesses told local news that White did everything he could to make Park stop the vehicle.
When the vehicles collided, White was launched from the car’s hood and thrown to the ground. Park allegedly fled the scene, and White was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office attributed his death to blunt force injuries to the head, local news reported.
Later that day, Park allegedly sold the jewelry at a pawn shop for $8,500 and then took a Lyft to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, where he boarded a flight to Los Angeles.
Police recovered Park’s vehicle in the same neighborhood as the pawnshop.
Park enlisted in the Army in South Pasadena, California, in July 2013, the 25th Infantry Division told Military Times. He had been assigned to the division since July 2017.
Harm Venhuizen is an editorial intern at Military Times. He is studying political science and philosophy at Calvin University, where he's also in the Army ROTC program.